3 LOS ANGELES ANGELS

April 03, 2011

ENEMY LINES

A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP THE ANGELS

I like the Angels.... Peter Bourjos is the fastest white dude I've ever seen. I think they'll just tell him, Play great defense in centerfield and hit at the bottom of the order, and he'll get his confidence up.... The big question mark for them is at third base. If they think they can play Maicer Izturis every day, they've got another thing coming. He's too fragile. I almost think signing Adrian Beltre would have been a bigger addition for them than Carl Crawford.... Vernon Wells? They had to do something. They sat on their hands and lost out on Beltre and Crawford, the two guys who would've made the biggest impact.... You look at Bobby Abreu, and you see a veteran guy whose body is starting to change—he's got a little potbelly now. Maybe allowing him to be the designated hitter every day will keep his legs fresher.... Jordan Walden has a big arm; he's the closer-in-waiting. Competition from him might get current closer Fernando Rodney to pitch the way he's capable of pitching.... He had a rough season last year, but this spring Scott Kazmir looked like he fixed some mechanical problems. He still has a chance to be a good fifth starter.... Hank Conger is a switch hitter who can swing the bat from both sides of the plate, but he has a below average arm, a slow release and doesn't move well. Theoretically you'd move him to first, but as long as Kendrys Morales is there, I don't know.... Mark Trumbo will fill in until Morales comes back from the DL. It's too bad Trumbo doesn't have some of the traits Robb Quinlan did last year—able to play third and left as well as first. Trumbo has game-changing power, but he's not athletic. He's the odd man out here, possible trade bait.

THE LINEUP

WITH 2010 STATISTICS

MANAGER MIKE SCIOSCIA

12TH SEASON WITH ANGELS

[originallink:10873966:1008473]

ROTATION W L ERA WHIP
RH JERED WEAVER 13 12 3.01 1.07
RH DAN HAREN 12 12 3.91 1.27
RH ERVIN SANTANA 17 10 3.92 1.32
RH JOEL PINEIRO 10 7 3.84 1.24
LH SCOTT KAZMIR 9 15 5.94 1.58
BULLPEN W SV ERA WHIP
RH FERNANDO RODNEY 4 14 4.24 1.54
RH SCOTT DOWNS 5 0 2.64 0.99

NEW ACQUISITION

(R) ROOKIE (TRIPLE A STATS)

PROJECTED PAYROLL

$136,000,000

THE NUMBER

.281

The Angels' BA on balls in play last year, second lowest in the majors. In 2009 Mike Scioscia's offense had the game's top BABIP (.322), but that dip doesn't explain a decline of 202 runs. The Angels' OBP fell from .350 (third best in the AL) to .311 (second worst).

MODEST PROPOSAL

At the time it looked like just another big-market team taking advantage of a cash-strapped small-market one. Now the Angels' pickup of Scott Kazmir from the Rays for utilityman Sean Rodriguez and two prospects in August 2009 seems like a mistake. Kazmir, 27, has seen his strikeout rate plummet, from a high of 27% of batters faced in '07 to 18% in '09 to 14% last season, with no improvement in his command along the way. In fact, the lefthander struck out just 14 more men than he walked in 2010 on the way to a career-worst 5.94 ERA. Kazmir has lost 2 or 3 mph off his fastball and slider since his Tampa Bay heyday and simply may no longer have the tools to be an effective starting pitcher. Despite the $12 million they're paying him, Los Angeles cannot stick with Kazmir if he once again is in the running to be the worst starter in the league. Righthander Trevor Bell, 24, should be first in line for a rotation spot if Kazmir declines further—or even if he fails to improve.

PHOTOJOHN BIEVER (WELLS) PHOTOROBERT BECK (KAZMIR)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)